Ohio taxpayers who thought they were getting refunds from the state instead got a quiz that they had to pass in order to have tax overpayments returned to them. Part of an ill-conceived program verify identity in the face of a rising tide of identity theft and scams, the quiz asked questions based on – and this is the good part – “information taken from national databases and other sources.” If you choose to participate (you know, like you actually want your property to be returned to you) then giving answers different from what the ‘national resources’ believe are true about you will result in denial of funds, and probably a requirement to bring identity papers into an office personally.
Of course, this kind of request looks indistinguishable from a host of other scams out there, which is why the linked article reports tens of thousands of calls came in to the tax offices and police. In truth, police probably should investigate, since we are unaware of any Ohio regulation that authorizes officials to burden citizens with such obligations as condition of exercise of their rights. What next? Maybe that they can require citizens to demonstrate they can play a musical instrument?
Once people have been assured that these kinds of requests are somehow okay, then the next wave of phishing from scam artists is likely to take a real toll.